Thursday, January 20, 2022

US Sold Out By "Public Servants"

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About a hundred years after our Constitution was created, our 20th President James Garfield, said: "Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress."

Now, 241 years out from our Declaration of Independence, Garfield's warning is more needed than ever.

Members of Congress get million-dollar-plus expense accounts, lifetime pensions, and lavish perks, but for the greedy, that's still not enough.

Garfield said if our public servants are corrupt it's because the people have come to tolerate their ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.

Let's take a closer look.

Be informed, not misled.

Whose side are they on?

In his article "A Century of Congress"---published by The Atlantic in 1877, Garfield warned America: 

"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature..."

Betsy McCaughey, in her article titled, "Americans, Are Being Sold Out By Government Insiders" says our elected public servants are, beyond their salaries and perks, "racking up big bucks trading stocks in the very same companies Congress regulates."

She says, "Stock picking by members of Congress should be illegal because they have an unfair edge over the rest of us. They're privy to the regulatory burdens or legal changes these companies are likely to face. And top leaders, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, actually control what's ahead for these companies.

About Mr. and Mrs. Pelosi.

McCaughey continues:

That control is like gold. Pelosi and her husband, venture capitalist Paul Pelosi, report trading tens of millions of dollars of assets a year, largely in Big Tech. The Nancy Pelosi Portfolio Tracker, based on these reported trades, estimates the couple is outperforming Wall Street titans such as Warren Buffett. Fox Business's Larry Kudlow marvels that the Pelosis bested the S&P 500 by nearly 15% in 2020. All the while, she's tamping down demands to regulate Big Tech."

Members of Congress are not the only ones double-dealing. On Jan. 14, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida stepped down, following resignations of both the Dallas and Boston Fed chiefs. They're in trouble for trading stocks and mortgage-backed securities while making Fed policies that impacted those markets.

And federal judges are also climbing aboard the gravy train.

A Wall Street Journal investigation finds at least 61 federal judges actually traded a company's stock while the company was a litigant in their courtroom.

The WSJ story includes considerable detail.

McCaughey, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York, says: "Congress needs to clean up this spreading corruption, starting with its own."

Can that be done? 

The New York Post reports

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) is offering a bill requiring federal lawmakers and their immediate family to put their stocks in a blind trust or diversified mutual funds. Senate Republicans Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) — who are as far to the right as Ossoff is to the left — say they’ll introduce similar bills.

Pelosi has the power to block them all. In March, Pelosi kept a bipartisan ban on stock trading from even getting out of the Rules Committee and onto the House floor for a vote. 

Nancy Pelosi makes millions off tech stocks – and scoffs at the push to ban congressional trades.

If Republicans capture the House in the midterm elections, count on the stock-trading ban to gain momentum. Encouragingly, Biden economic adviser Brian Deese supports the ban to “restore faith in our institutions,” suggesting the president might actually sign it.

Limiting stock trading will also pave the way for an urgently needed reform of Big Tech. 

Can public servants without self-control, actually control Big Tech?

In October 2020, on the eve of the Trump-Biden presidential contest, Facebook and Twitter suppressed The Post’s damaging findings that Hunter Biden’s laptop implicated his father in clandestine deals with the Chinese. 

Big Tech literally has the power to tilt an election by depriving the public of damning information about one candidate.

To prevent that, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) has introduced the 21st Century Free Speech Act, which would regulate Big Tech platforms — treating them like railroads, telephone companies and other public utilities.

AT&T can’t bar you from using the phone because it dislikes your political speech. But Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube routinely silence speakers they dislike, even the president of the United States. This proposed law would put a stop to it and restore free debate.

And there's Dr. Fauci.

While Fauci is not an elected official, he is an appointee who is making a ton of money off the government. And he has a great deal of power and influence during this pandemic.

You may recall the heated exchanges between Dr. Fauci and Rand Paul. Well, Paul is not the only one asking Fauci questions. Last week Sen. Roger Marshall was asking about how much money Fauci is making off the government. Fauci blew up, calling the Senator a "moron"---not realizing his mic was still on.

Marshall just received the financials he was asking for, but it's only for 2020.

However, Forbes has also been interested in how much Fauci is making directly and indirectly from the government.

This is a link to the Forbes story. It's quite detailed. Very interesting.

Here's an overview for 2020:

  • Investment income: $794,369
  • Salaries: $668, 312 (includes $434,312 from federal government and his wife Christine Grady $234,284 from NIH)
  • Perks and pensions: Very lucrative. Hard to track. Forbes estimates about $200,500.
  • Royalties and professional reimbursements: About $100,000
  • Gifts and travel reimbursements: $13,298.

Fauci received a $1,000,000 prize for the prestigious Dan David Prize affiliated with Tel Aviv University for "Speaking truth to power." He apparently donated $100,000 and kept $900.000.

He has an IRA worth $638,519 (up $42,291 over privious year), a defined benefit brokerage account totaling $2,403,522 (up $241,418) and a revocable trust worth $5,295,898 (up $342,694). His wife's revocable trust is worth $1,962,819 (up $156,123) and an IRA totlaling $120,277.

Most of his wealth has come directly or indirectly from government money.

Bottom line. During the pandemic year of 2020, the Fauci household income, perks and benefits, and unrealized gains totaled $1,776,479---including federal income and benefits of $868,812; outside royalties and travel perks of $113,298; and investment accounts increased by $794,369.

When he leaves the government he will receive over $350,000 per year---the largest in federal government history, according to Forbes.

What's standing in the way of reform?

Nearly half of Democrat lawmakers' stock holdings are in Big Tech, compared with only 14%  of Republicans' holdings. The Pelosis have reaped between $5.6 million and $30.4 million from investing in five Big Tech firms, according to McCaughey. They are Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. 

No wonder she is slow-walking any kind of reform to this kind of corruption.

McCaughey says, "When they say it's not about the money, you can bet it's about the money."

The only thing standing in the way---which is the most important thing---is "we the people."

You and me.

I have no problem with people acquiring wealth. In fact, Jesus affirmed capitalism in His parable of the talents.  

But when it is on the backs of taxpayers, taxpayers should be fully informed.

Betsy McCaughey says, "When they say it's not about money, you can bet it's the money. Congress is cashing in."

President Garfield said, "If the next centennial does not find us a great nation...It will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.